By Elvis Dumba
Chinhoyi – A clarion call has been made for young people to be effective participants in the growth of the country’s tourism sector.
In line with the government’s vision and mantra of not leaving anyone behind in building the country, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) ran a Youth Tourism Innovation Challenge that challenged young people to participate and contribute to the development of tourism in the country with a provincial winner for Mashonaland West Province announced during a Youth Entrenuership in Tourism Empowerment Workshop held at Chinhoyi Caves.
The Mashonaland West Acting Provincial Head in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry, Elyson Chigerwe said tourism visitors to the province had shrunk in the past two decades.
“Tourism is one of the main economic pillars in our province with great potential to turn around our economic fortunes alongside agriculture and mining. It is thus important to revive our once thriving tourism destination which has seen a decline in tourist visitors in the past two decades,” he said.
Zimbabwe is targeting to reach a room occupancy rate in the tourism sector of 10 000 rooms per night from its current standing of 6 000. A huge investment in the sector is needed to resolve various challenges with the availing of new resources and products critical to allow the sector to remain competitive.
Mashonaland West Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, challenged the young people to be at the forefront in ensuring that the country’s economic recovery plan of Vision 2030 of an upper-middle economy is achieved.
“Through this innovation challenge, we want to see the establishment of new tourism products as young people take centre stage in promoting our tourist attractions,” she said.
Chantelle Marawanyika scooped the provincial prize of US$1000 out of 17 participants who pitched their tourism innovation proposals.
Marawanyika will represent the province at the national level.